COURTENAY, B.C. - A junior hockey team owner on Vancouver Island who's been ordered to stay away from the owners of a rival team says he regrets the heated arguments that set off the dispute, but he feels he's been unfairly portrayed by the courts and the media.
Kevin Spooner, who owns the Campbell River Storm, was handed a peace bond directing him to keep away from Dave and Marsha Webb, who own the Comox Valley Glacier Kings. The teams are part of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.
A provincial court ruling in the case cites several arguments between Spooner, the Webbs and at least one other official with the Glacier Kings. Spooner, 43, admits he was upset the Webbs didn't offer to compensate him after a player left his team and eventually ended up playing for the Glacier Kings.
In one argument, the court found, Spooner dealt David Webb a "trifling" blow to the head, though Spooner denies it and says any contact was accidental. In another, the judge concluded Spooner pushed the Glacier Kings' head coach against a wall, which Spooner also denies.
Spooner acknowledges there were arguments, but he insisted he's not the violent, aggressive man painted by the court judgment.
"I regret it 100 per cent — I should have let it go, not even talked to them," Spooner said in an interview.
"I'm not that kind of person. ... It feels unjust, but I accept it."
In the end, the judge didn't accept Spooner's side of things, instead ordering him not to contact the Webbs or to come within 10 metres of them.
Provincial court Judge Ted Gouge said it appears inevitable Spooner would react in a similar fashion if he came into contact with the Webbs, though the judge also concluded Spooner doesn't pose any physical danger to the couple.
"He is clearly of the opinion that, when hockey issues are at stake, physical intimidation is an appropriate communication strategy," wrote Gouge.
"Encouraged by the traditions of the sport, he believes that aggressive confrontations, in which his size and bad temper are intimidating, are an appropriate way of resolving disputes."
Spooner bristled at the judge's description.
"I totally object to that, but I can't do anything about the judge," said Spooner.
Spooner also complained media outlets that initially wrote about the case didn't contact him to hear his side of the story.
Spooner wasn't charged and the peace bond doesn't carrying with it any findings of guilt or criminal wrongdoing.
The Webbs did not respond to emails seeking comment.